Steve Jobs wrote a piece called “Thoughts on Music” a few years ago. If you haven’t read it, please do.
It’s amazing how dated this post reads, even though it was written just 4 years ago. Think about it – Just 4 years ago Steve Jobs proposed that DRM be abolished and DRM is already a distant memory (except in countries that are not big Apple markets, like India).
The article may be dated but the lessons I learnt from it are not:
- Think big. I have read this article many times and it is only during one of my revisits that I realized that there was a big disconnect between the title and the content. The title of the article should really have been “Thoughts on DRM”. I don’t think the “Thoughts on Music” title was the result of PR spin. I believe that the title is really a reflection of how Jobs’ thinks. To him, it was not abolishing DRM. To him, it was about making it easier for people to listen to music – the end, as opposed to the means.
- To communicate clearly, think clearly. I totally “got” this article the first time I read it, and I thought “This guy can write!”. Over time I realized that the only way to write so clearly about such a complex topic (for most of us) is to think through it and know exactly what we want to say. Steve Jobs is a brilliant communicator because he is a brilliant thinker.
- Doing it is more important than talking about it. iTunes was completely DRM free 2 years after he wrote this article. Soon after he wrote this piece, we saw the wheels in motion as one label after the other signed up for DRM-free music on iTunes. The adulation for Steve Jobs is not because of his keynote speeches but because of the accomplishments they represent.
Steve Jobs – through an ecosystem of iPods and iTunes – opened up a whole new world of music to me and millions of other people. He also taught me important lessons on thinking, communicating and doing.